Thefts are a real plague and always result in a financial loss for a company. If these thefts are also carried out by your own staff, in addition to the financial aspect there is also a lack of mutual trust. All things you, as a company manager, would obviously prefer to avoid. Sweethearting, which originated in the United States, is a form of internal theft that is difficult to detect and which has often been going on for some time before it rings a bell.
What is it?
Sweethearting is when your employees give free products or very high discounts to people they know or when they do not act on theft by a known person. This form of corporate theft or internal fraud can quickly cost your company a lot of money without you even noticing it.
We can distinguish several forms:
- When family or friends pass by the checkout with their basket or cart, several products are not scanned. The same can be equally true within the catering industry, where only part of the order is entered on the cash register.
Since you are not always monitoring the checkout and the number of items scanned, you will not notice if an employee is not taking care of the checkout process.
- The employee uses their personal staff discount to purchase goods for family or friends. In many companies, staff members can purchase discounted goods for their own use. However, if they also use this discount to purchase goods for third parties, fraud does occur. However, it is usually impossible for you to find out or prove that your employee is purchasing something for someone else.
- The employee will deliberately look the other way for a moment if someone from his friends or family steals something. Your employee’s internal information makes it easy for the “customer” to get goods out of the store without being noticed in the process. Your employee will provide information about the best time to steal something and how goods may be secured.
As already indicated, it will be very difficult for you to track down the above examples. Especially since you essentially trust your employees and therefore have no suspicions. So as long as you cannot catch your employee in the act or have hard evidence, you can do little or nothing. A resignation must always be motivated and a vague suspicion is not sufficient. No wonder that this form of theft is becoming increasingly popular. A live example of sweethearting can be found in the video below.
Why is your employee doing this?
- Your employee is being pressured by a friend or family member to cooperate.
- Your employee is experiencing financial problems and hopes to find a solution with the help of third parties.
- Your employee is not satisfied with his job or the working conditions and sees this as a kind of “revenge” on your company and working method.
- “Opportunity makes the thief”, it is said, and that can also be a cause here. If your employee is convinced that there is little control and that the chance of being caught is low, this could be a reason for his behavior.
Whatever the motive, it cannot and should not be tolerated. You harm your company and your other employees by condoning such behavior.
Is sweethearting bad for companies?
- It reduces profit margins
Obviously, companies want to avoid theft because it causes them to lose money, but the problem goes further than that. In most industries the profit margin is small, so theft can cause the already small profit margins to evaporate and turn into losses.
Some employees may think that their company makes enough money and that stealing small amounts will not hurt anyone.
Giving away a pack of gum may seem insignificant to an employee, but if every employee gave away a few dollars every day, over time this could add up to hundreds or thousands of euros.
- It introduces favoritism
It shows to the customer that employees are acting irresponsibly. If an employee gives away free items to certain customers but not to others this is not fair. Customers need to know that prices in the store are fair and consistent. A customer seeing other customers stealing and allowing this to happen shows that the pricing in the store might not be correct.
- Management may feel compelled to take big measures that could be harmful to customers and/or employees.
How can Bayo help you with this?
As mentioned earlier, it will be difficult for you to track down these actions yourself and even more difficult to collect valuable evidence. Bayo helps you to you identify discretely who is guilty of theft and, provides sufficient evidence to take action against this employee. Because every company is different and perpetrators also use different methods, we always work in close collaboration with you. You are kept informed of every development and it is always you who make the final decisions.
Years of experience, thorough training and the most effective investigation methods guarantee that you can take appropriate action against employees with bad intentions. All investigations are performed in accordance with legal procedures and in full discretion.
Do you suspect that your company is a victim of internal theft? You can call the professional help of detective agency Bayo at any time.